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Article #2 Headline
by Pastor Mike Wilkins
Three Things to Do & One Purpose

At West London Alliance Church, a cell group is a small group of eight to fifteen people who meet weekly with three things to do and one purpose. The things to do are "learning, loving and serving". "Learning" means learning how to be disciples of Jesus Christ through study and discussion of the Bible and Christian books. "Loving" means loving the other members of the Cell Group, specifically and practically: by encouragement, by prayer and by pitching in to provide help of various sorts. "Serving" means serving God by serving the church and others outside the church family, which means that Cell Group members are always on the lookout for the next worthwhile project, in the church and in the community, that their group might be able to take on. The purpose of all of this Cell Group activity is to give birth to a new Cell Group. Each Cell Group has two years to do it.

One Chair Too Many?

Each Cell Group is to practice the principle of "the empty chair," which means that the members of the Cell Group are always prayerfully keeping an eye open to identify a nonchristian who is willing and able to attend a Cell Group meeting. His or her purpose in occupying "the empty chair" is to get to know your Cell Group friends, to see for himself what Christians do when they get together and in doing so to learn something about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The members of the Cell Group ought to be prepared to give the guest a warm welcome and then get on with the meeting almost as if he or she isn't there, except to answer his or her questions.

Someone not yet convinced about all this "small group activity" might ask, "What's it all for?" What a good question! The overall long-term goal of the Cell Group ministry, and its parallel, the Care Group Ministry, is to provide every West London Alliance Church adult with the opportunity to love and to be loved by other members of the church family, to learn to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and to serve God as a member of a small group. As we provide the people of our church with these valuable opportunities, the important but overwhelming work of "shepherding the flock" is shared not by just two or three pastors or six or seven elders, but by a network of men and women: a network which will continually increase in number as new apprentices are identified and new small groups are formed.


Joining a Cell Group is a commitment – a commitment made to the members of the Cell group: people who have made a commitment to you by accepting you into their group. It is not a lifelong commitment -- in fact, it has a maximum life of two years-- but it is intended to be a commitment of significance. Here are the most important aspects.


Be a participant.

You are expected to wholeheartedly attend the weekly meetings and the occasional social events and work projects. When you are unable to participate, you are expected to let the leader know that you can't come.


Be punctual.

Being consistently late is actually kind of rude. So is staying too long. Weekly meetings last about two hours. Please plan to show up a tiny bit early and be careful not to stay too late.


Be positive.

Will Cell Group life be a happy and encouraging experience for the people in your group? Who will make it so? Why not you? Please regularly encourage your leaders and the members of your group with warm and loving words. Say "Thank you" a lot. Smile frequently.

Be polite.

Common sense and sensitivity to others should rule behavior when it comes to all the details of group experience.

Be praying.

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. If our church's Cell Group ministry flourishes, it will be the Lord's doing. Let's keep asking Him to make it happen. With God's help, our church's Cell Group ministry will continue to be a life-changing, life-enriching experience for many.